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Revolution in an Esoteric Order

YOU GO AWAY for a few weeks and it seems that everything changes. There are revolts in Egypt and Libya and now my inbox is full of news that Robert Zink has been “expelled from his own order”, along with comments from Robert that esoteric orders are not a democracy and you cannot expel a chief.

Unfortunately for those who have rebelled, Robert is right, unlike Egypt or Libya you cannot simply rebel.  When someone forms a school or an order it is an extension of their teaching system. To learn, students have to sign up for it, for better or for worse. The administration of an order can be democratised to a point, similar to the Round Table of Arthur’s Knights or the Senate in Imperial Rome. But ultimately the teaching of the order rests on one person’s vision and they are the only one which can implement that vision.

However this is not the same thing, as Robert has been claiming, “that there is only one adept” and all must obey. Instead it is more that a leader has created a one universe that all in that universe must work within otherwise they are not doing it “right”.
The question which Robert’s rebels have had to face is “what do you do if you disagree with the chief and his universe?” There is only one honourable and respected path here. You quit.
You take those who believe in your ideas and set up an alternative school based around your own concepts. You send back all the course material you have received and write your own. In short you become the Chief with a new school and tradition.
What I will say next will not impress the rebels and will probably break many inter order protocols but will stand as a bit of a warning. For your revolt to succeed and your temples to continue you must form your own order based around the new ideas you have. You must jettison those elements within your Order which made it Robert Zink’s vision of the Golden Dawn. Otherwise you will be condemned to repeat all the mistakes of the EOGD and end up much like the pigs in Animal Farm. 
Before anyone evokes the revolt of the adepts in the original Golden Dawn as a precedent, lets be clear that they were all aware that the moment the revolt took place that they had to set up new Orders. Mathers set up his AO, the rebels set up Morgan Roth (after calling themselves the Hermetic Society). The later split into the Stella Matutina and the Holy Order as another rift developed between the Masons and the Magicians.
Firstly the rebels have attacked Robert Zink and made him the scapegoat for all their problems. This was an error. It raises darker questions. Many of them have built their esoteric careers thanks to Robert. They took grades from him and if he was doing wrong, you were willing allies to the Golden Dawn image he created. Comments about Robert’s methods have existed for more than a decade and most of them were his loyal lieutenants. No one outside the order believes for a moment that he acted on his own without their  knowledge, help and blessing. If the list of sins against Robert is as detailed as they say, he certainly was not sending out emails, setting up websites, attacking other orders by himself. It seems unlikely that in a hierarchical organisation any of you could have risen to the top by disagreeing with the Chief Adept, so implication in his “crimes” is almost certain.
There are many who left the Esoteric Order who never met Robert Zink who never the less suffered at the hands of the chiefs of his temples. If Robert was behaving badly, his temple chiefs must have, at the very least, been towing the line and obeying orders.
Looking at the list of those who have rebelled, I noticed that three of them have not only kept the grades that they received at Robert’s hands but have rushed to take upon themselves his titles. I also noticed that there was the assurance that the temple was going to continue to run “Power Weekends” which are Robert’s idea and framed in his “sales speak” language. In short they appear to be keeping the Esoteric Order running in the same manner as it always has. So what was the point of a revolt?
It appears, to the outsider, be a simple power grab from within the order against the leadership, rather than a Geboric attempt to remove an errant leader. If this perception is wrong, then it is unfortunate, especially as there equally appears to be among the rebels those who believed they were doing the right thing in removing a person they thought was doing the wrong things.
The problem is that Robert has been doing these things for a very long time and it seems strange that there seems to be an epiphany that has suddenly become moralistic and clearly unable to see their involvement.
The only way anyone can do the “right thing” is to set up a new order with a completely different egregore. This would give everyone a break from the past and allow a new order to grow from the ashes of the old.
Do not think that I am siding with Robert in all this.  I think the way he has handled the revolt is equally incorrect.   Once a revolt happens on this magnitude the Chief has to hand on the order to a chosen successor or set up his Order, under a new name. Robert should understand that the current situation is an indication that what ever started the Esoteric Order wants a change of focus and the status quo is no longer viable. You cannot say, like I notice Gaddafi is also trying, that there is no revolt and you have lost no territory. If the list is as long as it appears Robert has lost almost all of his temples. However if you have three or four people loyal you can always start again.
Robert needs to take those who remain loyal to him and use them as the nucleus for a new group which follows his direction. He will now be free to run his courses or another order in the way he likes. Unlike the rebels, he does not have to rewrite too much of his material, unless he wants to take advantage of the break to make things work better according to his vision.
The Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn as we know it is over. If everyone, rebels or Robert, try to maintain the status quo its death will get messy.   There will be legal arguments and copyright feuds, and both sides will attack until they are exhausted. The lessons of the EOGD need to be learned by both sides and the methods not done the same way. Otherwise history will just repeat itself and there will be more revolts from those who believe that it is possible to ascend in an occult order by bumping off the chief. This is a bad thing for any occult order.  It is clear that what ever was being done in the Esoteric Order was not right for the GD egregore and reform was needed.
I wish both sides in this success and that their groups will grow and develop the Golden Dawn tradition. But there is a lot of work on both sides to create new groups from the Esoteric Order and at the moment both sides think they can rule using the old ways. But occult groups do not work like that and it is time for something new.

22 thoughts on “Revolution in an Esoteric Order

  1. Ah, Nick, well said 🙂

    I have posted a few comments along these lines myself, but, to be honest, did not think it would be polite (removed from it all down here in Oz)to develop the argument and be as blunt as you have been 🙂 You’re a braver man than me, Nick.

    It is as obvious as dogs’ balls the current egregore needs scrapping and new Orders formed. As I said elsewhere, having two Orders both claiming to be THE EOGD will do no one any good. The only bright star on the horizon is that it is nearly Equinox, which is good timing for all this surrendering the old and forming a new Order 🙂

    Bravo again for the straight talking… 🙂

  2. Interesting how it coincides w/ the recent events around the world, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya.
    People seeking to overthrow a corrupt leader.
    I personally find the “Golden Dawn” bickering over the years rather distasteful and infantile however having met Mr. Zink in 2000, this “rebellion” does not surprise me.

  3. As much as I agree with 99% of your opinion, I would personally think that if I started an order with the Golden Dawn name applied to it, then I would expect to be personally held to an unwritten-unspoken(but-taken-for-granted-as-fact-among true-initiates) Rosicrucian standard. And regardless, if my brothers and sisters “took everthing from me in a flash-moment” then I would consider myself in another stage of devlopmental-growth, and accept my fate, thank divinity for my path; and try to learn and grow from it.

  4. What is important here is that all the Golden Dawn offshoots changed the public name of their order after the revolt. None of them changed the name of the second (unpublic) name of the order. But then I didnt start an order with the name Golden Dawn in it in the first place even though the Magical Order is GD orthodox

  5. I think it was a mixture of both. There was no move to change the name during or after the trail, but there was after the revolt.
    If you look at the wording of the 0=0 AO ritual it does imply both were a factor. Mathers even changed the 0=0 ritual and made references to the rebels in the strike down parts of the oath. Morgan Roth was not the first name that the rebels used either (they called themselves the Hermetic Society).

  6. Excellent post, Nick. It is good to see a balanced appraisal of the situation, which takes into consideration the flaws of expelling leaders and ultimate turmoil that will ensue, both on the mundane level and within the egregore itself.

    History tends to repeat itself, but if we are to learn from it then we need to recognise that the GD survived by becoming several distinctly different groups, rather than fighting to be the original (which was at first attempted and is still argued about by some to this day).

    LVX,
    Dean.

  7. Sincerus, I absolutely agree with you, making any comparisons to EOGD and the original Order only feeds into Robert’s belief that he is some incarnation of Mathers. And Nick, as much as I respect your work, I think you are missing the boat on this one. The point that seems to be being made is that Robert should not be apart of any order, the EOGD or otherwise. He has done nothing but abuse the system of the GD…this is an opinion not just based on the current issues but based on a long history of ex-members sharing their experiences over the years on the internet and witnessing his personal flame war, which has put the GD tradition at risk. Personally I think this man needs to be in jail…not taking time to rebuild and order where he will be further tempted to take advantage of his students.

  8. Hi Andrea
    I do not believe that Robert did it all by himself and those who had bad experiences within the EOGD often had them with their temple chiefs who claimed to be obeying orders.
    Now some of these same temple chiefs have voted Zink out and seemed to have kept the same business model (we still see “Power weekends” and other hard sell language) So I remain cynical about the chances for change while the old structures are held in place and the people who kept Robert in charge for nearly 20 years are still there.
    It is fairly likely that Robert will set up another group and there little that anyone can do to stop it. When I was younger I got pretty upset about what was happening with that order… then later it dawned on me that it had a function even if it was just learning discrimination.
    I am saying that unless EOGD restructures dramatically and changes its hard sell business model it will continue to channel Robert even if he is not there.

  9. As I understand it the E.O.G.D. is a business not a non-profit.Who owns it? It’s been said else where that the grade material wasn’t written by Mr.Zink.That might be true but who owns the copyright? These are the kind of questions judges and lawyers like to ask. Then theirs the tax liability.If Mr.Zink has not been paying his taxes the I.R.S. will eventually catch up with him.He will tell them he’s been fired from the E.O.G.D. and then the order will be responsible for Zinks unpaid taxes.I think the E.O.G.D. is naive in thinking that they can run things as they are and not have any legal problems either with Zink or the IRS.It would be cleaner to create a new charter and become a non profit entity.The order can have an electable inner council and subject them to term limits and that would insure the order is protected from power hungry people.Grade material could be redone rather quickly since the order seems to have plenty of qualified individuals and theirs a lot of new material to draw from.The last ten years has seen a great leap in magic theory;everything from root working to Zalewski’s commentaries to just bloggers reporting on their studies.I also don’t have a problem with”power week” now that Mr. Zink isn’t around to peddle his bull shit.A lot of members don’t live close enough to an active temple to make it regularly so it does fulfill a need.Opening up power week to other G.D. Orders is a possibility now that Mr.Zink is out of the picture.The members of the E.O.G.D. have an opportunity now to create a order that is indeed run and controlled by it’s members.A true fraternity open to all.It will be interesting to see how all this plays out….

  10. Nick, one important point, in my opinion, (and others have made this point) is that Robert is not the founder of this order nor is he really even the primary teacher within it. He was around early in the order, and he was A teacher. Furthermore the Golden Dawn is not simply a school, as I see it, it is a fraternity.

    Furthermore, I believe to support Robert’s right to host an order or an organization is to support his ability to manipulate, take advantage of, and steal from people.

    Others have left in the past due to Robert’s behavior, but Zink lives on to do more evil another day. I have never known another human capable of the evil I have seen in this man, and yes I think evil is the most appropriate word.

    Regards

  11. I am not in any way directly connected with these events but some things seem obvious.

    Firstly, as Nick says unless the power structures change the EOGD will remain the same. Structures as much as personalities breed power issues. This is clear from the history of all organisations as well as organisational psychology.

    Secondly, the EOGD will face immediate issues and problems; this is a natural fallout and to be expected. See for example, http://fraterfrancesco.blogspot.com/2011/03/rabid-revolutionaries-of-golden-dawn-vs.html

    How the EOGD handles these issues will determine what the Order goes on to become. I wish them light and blessings in these difficult times.

    Thirdly, whether or not Robert Zink ‘should’ or ‘should not’ run an Order has nothing to do with rights. Magic is an unregulated art; anyone can set up a group and be Head Priest of the Atlantean Order of Nose Fuckers, or Chief Magus of whatever they feel like.

    We should be clear on this. Either we say only ‘authorised’ or chartered folk can start an Order, or we say anyone can and let the fruit be judged by the tasting. Getting a universally agreed authorisation process in the magical community is as unlikely as me pooing out the winning lottery numbers this evening.

    Obviously the members of the EOGD have seen the damage done by Mr Zink and do not feel he is morally trustworthy etc to lead an Order. I applaud their attempts to stop further financial and other abuse. But at the end of the day, if Mr Zink wants to be a Chief Magus he will be, and if he owns the websites, he can use them legally as he wishes.

    All the more reason I suggest (and to help me remember who is who) for the EOGD to change names and egregore. Good luck and blessings to you all 🙂

  12. What can one say folks, you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t! The EOGD was either going to continue to deal with an individual who was becoming highly involved in illegal activities and suffer the consequences of losing the Order while we continued to watch our Temples fall or we could decide to expel him, save our students, and deal with a more immediate fall-out.

    Either way no one expected a completely positive response from the community…Of course there are many people who have extended a hand of support..but for the naysayers it was either going to be “Wow! you guys really ran your Order into the dirt by letting Zink have such control over you”(if no action was taken) or “My God! You rebels can’t expel the founder!” or my most favorite “Good for you! But your still a bunch of a-holes for keeping him around for so long, you should be ashamed of yourselves!”…everyone has an opinion and currently there are many out there for and against what we have done. Heck there’s even someone selling aura cleansing for the EOGD member with schism in his soul. We appreciate your opinions, however opinions are often not based on knowing the entirety of the situation. The complexity and depth of opinions you have seen on the internet only scratch the surface of the many things that we are focusing on. So what may seem logical, fair, and proper to one, may seem absurd to the people involved in the situation. Or maybe you are making a great point, and yet there are other more important things to deal with before those points can be attended to.

    None-the-less he Chiefs of our Order will continue to base their decisions and present them to the body for the sole purpose of keeping the integrity of the Order high, and the students safe. The EOGD will continue to deal with issues in Order of importance from the inside-out and with the guidance of the Divine, even if it doesn’t follow someones preferred guideline for how we should be immediatly representing ourselves. An Adept no matter who he is must make his decisions based on what is in accordance with Divine Law, and not in fear of reprisal or desire to be lifted up by others. I and others like myself will continue to fight for what is right, proper, and legal…and if I’m damned for it, I say someone better start weaving that hand-basket pretty quickly and throw in an aura cleansing to boot!

  13. This whole situation needs to have Threat Mitigation applied to it. They should have looked each issue / problem, isolated it, and came up with alternatives. If Robert appeared to be a threat – then show him alternatives for a business line where he could be successful. Where is the “Love”? If they truly “Love” their fellow brethren – then why aren’t they honestly finding other income for Robert so he doesn’t have to focus on both newer initiates and the collection plate for temple rent. Where are the door ways that should have been opened that addresses the threat, but doesn’t harm anyone. I don’t think Robert needs to “start over”…. he has a lot of talent. Talent with hypnotism, neurolinguistics, understanding personal problems, and finding ways to address those issues that the person is trying to correct. His business planning and accounting really sucks (which is another issue), but that can be corrected too. I think there are possibilities out there but he needs help. Slamming the lid on his fingers while they are dangling in the cookie jar only brings attention to the slammer. If this is truly an order based on “Love” – then use your abilities to get the results without bringing harm. Or is that too left brained thinking for a primarily Right brained group?

  14. I agree there is an element of damned if you do damned if you don’t and really you have my sympathy.
    Yes, it was important for people to deal with Robert, but the problems of the EOGD were not all caused by him they were caused by all those who helped him to power and to rule. While it is great that those people have finally resolved this problem the work is not over yet.
    At the risk of Godwin being invoked on this argument, it is a bit like removing Hitler from power and then running Germany in exactly the same way.
    As outsiders, we are not seeing much in the way of anyone wanting to change other than to take Robert’s power away from him.
    If the EOGD is going to survive it has to remove the Roberteque structures, and change the name. Some individuals are going to have to admit some responsibility and perhaps offer to resign.
    It is only once you have a truth and reconciliation operation within the order that you will be able to get on with the good work. Seriously though, start with the name.

  15. Frater CSI, what you clearly don’t realize is that he has been shown many doors to walk through that would probably provide more income for him. He has been given ample time and many opportunities to change. Let me make it also very clear that the money issue is only a minor part of his expulsion.

    Does he have some talents? Sure. Does he use them for good? Absolutely not.

  16. J.C, I disagree with some of what you said. I can not confirm that others have tried to help him find other avenues for income. All I’ve seen (by their on-line statements) is them saying “You can’t do that”. They never offered any helpful hints. Regarding he doesn’t use his talents for good… I really have to disagree with that statement. Granted, I have not worked with him very much, but I did hire him for his mentoring. Although he lost track of the time, and appeared to have forgot – he did finally make contact, remembered, did some research, and resolved the problem. In fact he helped me greatly with the answer. Mr. Farrell might appreciate this one. In working through the problem I needed to make a Talisman, but used a process that I’ve never seen or heard of before in any Talisman book that I’ve acquired in my library. Of course the best book was by Nick Farrell ( a little plug there…). Robert’s knowledge and ability to use it in a constructive way lead to the elimination of the serious problem I was having with a spiritual form in my house. When I’ve asked 2 adepts about what to do (before I hired Robert) – I got the “deer in the headlights” look. They didn’t know what to do and abruptly walked away. Not even offering to give me direction on who to talk to. Even after I solved the problem, I’ve tried to learn more about the subject and found only Robert and another high Adept had a clue. Robert can, and has done good. He certainly helped me. These are stories that normally don’t get announced. We all hear the failures. But I suppose even Sir Galihad had dogs nipping at his heals too….

  17. What is apparent on the internet is only the tip of the iceberg in these affairs. If you are defending the man, then you really don’t know the man.

    I’m not certain who is was you discussed talismanic magic with, but let it be clearly known to you that while we do not generally teach “magic” (talismanic or otherwise) in the outer order, Robert will teach you anything you want as long as you pay him.

    Your statement that Robert can and has done good barely even applies to your story. You are the one that did the work. He simply talked to you on the telephone. For every good story you can tell me, I could rattle off several terrible stories about the man, often with him hurting people, intentionally.

  18. It’s interesting – i realize I’m writing this many months after you posted this.

    In my case, I was a member of the EOGD – having been initiated on 1/21/2006. I left the order in 2007.

    Part of my departure, now looking back at it many years later, was in great part due to my ego. I had my own issues to work out. However, another aspect of my departure was the constant battle between Griffin and Zink – one calling the other a Nazi… the other calling the other a Child Molester. The mudslinging, name calling, anonymous slanderous websites – all of that, just was too much for me. One day I said, “enough… as a temple officer, i’m giving all my weekends for this??”

    I don’t know the financial books of EOGD, nor how it was set up. I know it wasn’t tax exempt and Robert ran EOGD as a business. We all know this. As a business, you remove the CEO when he starts acting out of the best interest of a company. We also, all know this. CEO’s and company owners can be replaced when they leave the path of success – determined by a unanimous vote.

    What you are describing Nick, is interesting, but not the description of a business. I believe EOGD was run as a business – and ended up with the karma of being treated as such.

    The real issue here is… it’s a life lesson. The energy you put into anything – will rebound. You treat a spiritual group as a business… you get voted out.

    If a leader brings drama… he gets drama… we all get what we sow… this is true as much for Zink as it is for those that removed him… as much as it is for each of us, for every decision we make each day.

  19. I and many others have always asked for solid evidence, not hearsay spawned by David Griffin.

  20. Brian sez: “We also, all know this. CEO’s and company owners can be replaced when they leave the path of success – determined by a unanimous vote. “

    Did Zink issue any shares in the company to anyone but himself? If not, you’re talking out your ass…

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